As expected, McConnell’s announcement of John R. Donahue as the new lead prosecutor in the investigation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein triggers a hard campaign against Donahue to replace him with Bob Goodlatte. The Republican freshman has recently served as the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and is widely viewed as an experienced prosecutor. And, as The Washington Post’s Rick Gladstone notes, the Senate confirmed Donahue to the Judicial Crisis Network in April 2016 and elected him to a leadership position in the organization in April 2018. Still, Senate Republicans blocked Donahue’s nomination in the 2016 election cycle.
If Hatch and McConnell have their way, nobody else is likely to get another shot at dealing with the self-proclaimed special prosecutor. But don’t expect Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley to relent on his ideological contention that all investigations are public documents if they were never intended to be.
In a letter to Sessions this week, Grassley said, “If Justice officials choose to cooperate and cooperate at the outset of an investigation, they must do so from their own point of view.” He wrote that the Justice Department, by virtue of its constitutional responsibilities, has a responsibility to explain what is public and what is not. Grassley said that is the attorney general’s role and that he was “not currently concerned about the very high threshold standard” which attorneys need to meet for any criticism of a Justice investigation that is viewed as inappropriate by others.Over the weekend, in response to comments made by Grassley, Sessions withdrew his nomination. Grassley wrote that Donahue “has a very tough job on his hands” but that Donahue “has the political, legal and organizational skills to understand the process more than other persons.” McConnell had also said that Ginsburg’s death would “significantly change” the situation. Ginsburg, for her part, celebrated her long career and passed her nine-year battle with ovarian cancer over the weekend. “To be remembered for much more than winning the seat of President Kennedy in 1962, is indeed a victory,” Ginsburg wrote in a letter to colleagues. “I’m thinking of being in a glass House chamber–holding my little one close.”